Le sigh

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Sadly we’ve dwindled to a trickle with the build. A couple of tiny things have happened since my last post. One of the main issues has been rain – we’ve had a lot and need some concrete to be laid. However, the inside, which is not affected by rain hasn’t had much progress since my last post.

My husband popped by yesterday not expecting to see anyone there on the Sunday in the middle of a long weekend but there was a concreter there patching the slab in preparation for our flooring, which is apparently being installed this week. Now that will be some progress  🙂

We won’t be handing over in October (as per my gut instinct of the last post), but it should happen in November. It had better be in November! Hopefully our SS will be back from leave this week (which we didn’t even know he was on till we tried to call him) and can give us an update.

In the meantime, I leave you with a photo of our kitchen-in-progress – we happened to be there about a week ago when the lovely caesarstone benchtop was uncovered. We are loving the kitchen and look forward to seeing it when the splashback and appliances are in place. It should make a beautiful heart to our home.

The tortoise and the hare

Well, we’re shuffling our way to the finish line and it’s hard to know whether it’s going to be the tortoise or the hare. Will handover happen before or after I have to go away for three weeks in mid-October? It’s anyone’s guess right now. I am finding it hard to believe we could be done in the next five weeks, but the logistics of this build have been so mind boggling to date that I guess anything’s possible.

Progress this week:
– electrical fit out underway
– plumbing fit out underway
– tiling nearly complete

Going for Gold

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Well, our SS and the subbies have done an outstanding job over the past two weeks. They are going for gold, with our SS talking around six weeks to handover! I think it’s more likely eight, but that is not long!

Progress over the past two weeks:

  • All doors hung – we are now at lock up
  • Final al fresco sliding door has been recessed into the slab as per the plan
  • The incorrectly located aircon unit slab has been dug up by the concreters
  • Our kitchen carcasses have been installed! I am thrilled with the Polytec Agean Oak in Ravine finish – my husband won’t know if he likes it until the kitchen is complete! Fingers crossed our selections all work together 😆
  • Laminex benchtops installed in the pantry, laundry and kitchen 2
  • Vanity carcasses installed in all bathrooms/powder room
  • Laundry cupboards installed
  • All cornices and architraves are in and ready for painting
  • All internal floor tiling and most wall tiling is complete
  • Porch has been tiled and looks the bomb 😀
  • The feature wall in our master en suite has been installed and looks AMAZING!

We are very happy with the progress and can’t wait to see what the next two weeks bring. This is what we know is planned for the coming week:

  • Painters will prep and begin their work – Taubman’s Silver Charm throughout except in master bedroom 1 (which will be midnight blue) and lounge 1 (which will be a petrol/indigo blue) and a feature wall in our office/study (which will be black)
  • Caesarstone benchtops (Osprey – off white) will be installed in kitchen 1 and all bathrooms/powder room
  • Cedar cladding will be delivered and installation of the porch and al fresco ceiling cladding will get underway
  • Spotted gum timber for our rear deck will be delivered
  • Tilers will finish the remaining wall tiling in the bathrooms and the splashback in kitchen 2

What still needs to happen after that:

  • Bamboo hard flooring and carpets need to be installed (this will be a moment of truth, as we’ve chosen very dark boards and charcoal carpet, which *should* contrast nicely with our Taubman’s Silver Charm (half strength) walls and arctic white trim/white ceilings)
  • Concreter needs to pour a new mini-slab for the aircon unit
  • Concreter needs to pour a brushed concrete ‘path’ to wrap around the back of the house where our deck will go (I am so excited to see this. This was one of our major innovations on the plans and it should really enhance our backyard living – we haven’t had a yard before (we are in a townhouse now with a courtyard that we don’t use much)
  • Garage door needs to be installed (but that is one of the last things they do, to reduce the risk of something being backed into it)
  • Electrical fit-out, including alarm system, all lighting (we are awaiting two more fixtures and we will have everything ready to go)
  • Plumbing fit-out
  • Decking to be installed in al fresco and out to the wrap-around deck
  • Pour the driveway and path to the porch
  • A million other details that I’ve forgotten! 🙂

Then there’s the list of things we need to get ready as the build enters the last stages:

  • Decide on which company will win the contract to install our plantation shutters throughout (we have three quotes coming in; two received so far with a 7k price differential – will be interesting to see where the last one lands!)
  • Get three quotes for fencing (we are going with Colourbond for the back and side fences with aluminium slat fencing/gates between the side fences and the house at the building line (I’ve read just about everything on ACTPLA’s website about what’s allowed and what’s not)
  • Get three quotes for wardrobe fit-out (we deleted the shelf/rail from the contract)
  • Arrange for all tiles and the driveway to be sealed as soon as we have the keys in our hot little hands 😉
  • Get Foxtel/cable sorted out, as the internet speed in our new suburb is likely to be as glacial as our old suburb, neither of which are in the NBN forward work plan 😦
  • Get some quotes for simple landscaping (we’ve been doing some sketches)
  • Get some quotes for the installation of a Colourbond shed in the back yard
  • Decide on what we’re going to do about a letterbox!

So much to do, so little money! We’re waiting for my dear, departed father-in-law’s estate to settle, as he is funding all of the above through his frugality in life and generosity in death. He was one of the war-generation babies who never forgot the hard, lean years before and after WWII. He didn’t throw anything away and was very careful and clever with his money. So much so, he had more tucked away than anyone knew. We are very grateful for that but we miss him terribly and are sad that he won’t get to see the house that he part-funded. While he was ready to go when he did, at the ripe old age of 88, I had hoped we would all get some time together before he died.Hopefully the estate will settle soon, as we need the bequest money to commit to the above list.

We are calling our self-contained flat ‘Johnno’s place’ in his honour. We have a few bits and pieces of his and my long-departed mother-in-law that we will use in decorating the place. My father-in-law was a mad-keen yachtie, so we are also decorating the self-contained flat in a nautical/coastal theme in his memory. RIP Johnno.

Here is a selection of photos taken during the week. It’s really starting to look like the house we imagined. Happy days 🙂

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Porch tiles, contrasting beautifully with the bricks. That door, as magnificent as it is in merbau, will be painted Taubman’s Electricity (neon chartreuse!). We’re hoping it all works out okay!

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Vanity in master bedroom 1 en suite (Polytec Char Oak)

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Our spectacular mosaic feature wall in master bedroom 1 en suite. I am in love! All the trouble we had over selecting a tile (and paying through the nose for it) has paid off. This is stunning and really ties together the black/white/silver/grey colour scheme. I think I will look forward to getting up in the mornings when I have this beauty awaiting me!

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View of our en suite from the bedroom. The walls will be painted a silvery grey.

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Guest powder room. We’ll wallpaper at least two walls in there in something dark and textural. We are going full luxe in the littlest room in the house 🙂

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Vanity installed in the kids’ bathroom. We swapped out a single basin vanity for dual basins. Perhaps marginally less squabbling in the mornings? (We can but hope)

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Our Polytec Aegean Oak kitchen! We had originally chosen a darker blue matt, smooth finish from Laminex, but they are no longer making it. The Polytec is a little brighter, but the Ravine finish adds the texture I was worried we wouldn’t have if we had been able to have our original choice. It’s very blue, but it pops and should be toned down a bit with the white Caesarstone benches and the very dark brown floors.

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Walk-in pantry! We have a two door single cupboard for our pantry in our current place. We have things double and triple-stacked and it’s a pain in the you-know-what. We’re looking forward to having this pantry set up properly so we can reach everything easily. Also love the light coming through. There will be a door on the pantry, but it’s got a frosted glass panel in it so the light will be filtered, which will be a good thing in summer, as this window faces west.

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Acolytes of the Rawson Metford33 design will notice this is a non-standard kitchen. We spent hours in the former display home in Dubbo and decided the kitchen, while lovely, simply wasn’t big enough for what we had in mind. So, we turned the island bench into a peninsula by converting the original galley style kitchen into a u-shaped kitchen. That also meant we could accommodate more cupboard space, a two-drawer bin insert in one of the cupboards, a longer overhang so we can all sit at the bar for our breakfast and the all-important (hahaha) wine fridge!

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Kitchen 2 (Johnno’s Place). Sorry for the crap photograph – the sun was over the other side of the house. Lots of extra storage in here for anything that doesn’t fit in our main kitchen/pantry. We’ll also make use of the second oven when we host Christmas festivities later this year 🙂

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Our newly tiled porch. Am loving these tiles, which were our second choice and have worked out beautifully.

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Our laundry door! This door will be accessed via the wrap-around deck, which will run across the full width of the back of the house and then down the side to the laundry. Our clothes line will live under the awning of our shed, so there’ll be a path from the laundry to the shed. A clothes line is a novel idea for us after 20 years of apartment/townhouse living!

Getting close to lock up

We had a site inspection with our SS this week and it was great to see the progress:

  • Bricks have been cleaned
  • Water tank has been installed
  • Wet areas have been sealed
  • Floor tiles in wet areas have been positioned
  • Cornice has been delivered and should go up soon
  • Doors have been delivered and should be installed soon
  • Downlight holes have been cut from the Gyprock, including four that shouldn’t have been 😮 (an easy fix, so we are told; when the electricians come back they’ll patch the plaster and affix the battens ready for our hallway pendants)
  • Batten fixtures cord is poking through the ceilings in the right places
  • The concreters have been back to recess the sliding doors but they haven’t been able to dig up the slab they laid in the wrong place for our aircon unit – it’s been so wet they haven’t been able to get the bobcat in through the quagmire that is our front yard

SS thought we’d be at lock up by the weekend so we’ll swing by and check it out!

We also got a call from Don’s Tiles. Two of our choices are no longer available so we had to make the trek over to Mitchell to choose some new ones. New concrete/stone look tiles for our front porch were easy to select. We were advised on Monday that our first new choice was available (and slightly cheaper than the original ones we had chosen). Despite the energetic, helpful and polite assistance from the tile rep, we didn’t have much luck with the tiles for our en suite feature wall (back wall of the shower). We had to pick three new choices as they couldn’t tell us what was in stock/able to be ordered and, to our disappointment, we found out on the following Monday that neither the first two of our choices were available or could be ordered and that our third selection was the only one available – naturally it cost more than our original selection and naturally we picked freaking Carrara marble. It had better look awesome!

So, a general comment: it is 2016. Online stocking systems have been around for more than 20 years. It befuddles us completely that a flooring company holds stock in its showroom that it can’t get. If they can’t get them in, why is the tile still on display? We provided feedback to the SS, as this episode left a slightly sour taste in our mouths; we felt like Don’s Tiles was letting Rawson (and us) down.

We also learned that the Laminex colour we selected for our main kitchen was no longer available. This was a real bummer, as it was a lovely petrol blue and would have complemented the chocolate tones of the bamboo floor and contrasted beautifully with our white Caesarstone benchtops. Fortunately, Polytec now manufactures a ‘woodgrain’ look blue that is close to our original colour selection (a little brighter, perhaps, but given how dark our kitchen is, probably not a bad thing…we will probably need to install a sunlight/diffuser but that will have to wait). So we have gone with Aegean Oak with Ravine finish for the kitchen. This cost us an extra $1k, but we are at that stage in the build that we have spent so much money what’s another thousand? (I die a little every time I say that but they don’t call houses money pits for nothing…)

Anyway, if that’s the worst of it, we will have gotten off lightly with our build. Let’s hope the mudpit that surrounds our house doesn’t cause too many delays. We are still on track for handover late Sep/early Oct.

New photos.

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A big bunch of something (architraves?) in our dining room and family room

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Charcoal tiles for the laundry and the extra storage room we snuck into our modified plans

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Kitchen looking through the family room to the kids’ rumpus

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Hallway (with bonus holes!) looking back to the front door (should be on soon!)

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Our ‘new’ en suite bathroom feature tile. Our fourth choice. Next time I’d exclude feature tiles from the contract and get it done separately so we could work with a company who could guarantee their supply. This marble mosaic had better look good!

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Not new, but it’s nice to see a sample of our bamboo flooring again. In a few more weeks we should see if this choice pays off!

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Our gigantic front door. It’s a timber veneer, but will be painted neon. We’ll be known as the house with the fluoro door 😉

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Our internal doors ready for painting and fitting. They’ll all be painted black.

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Ahoy there! We have a water tank 😀

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Very nice. The Deep Ocean colour works perfectly with the Espresso bricks.